How to remove old carpet

picture of Mom and kids tearing out the old carpet

Removing old carpet is fairly easy. I have been dying to tear out the carpet in my daughter’s bedroom.  The carpet is matted down, smells musty, and is an UGLY gold color. We are remodeling Elizabeth’s room into a girly, princess theme bedroom.

To begin, I put on work gloves because I can’t stand dusty, dirty hands and of course to protect my hands.  I just used a sharp utility knife to cut 3 -4 foot wide sections of the carpet.  This is a manageable size to haul out of the room for me. Our trash collector will take just about anything but be sure to contact your local collector to be sure they will accept construction garbage. By all means, wrap it up neatly and help them load it in their truck on trash day, if possible.

picture of Cutting carpet into manageable sections
Cutting carpet into manageable sections

Once I cut the sections, I simply rolled up each piece and tied it together with twine.

We have hot water radiant heat throughout the house. To make life easier, I removed the radiator covers from the room before removing the carpet.

picture of Tearing out old carpet
Tearing out old carpet

Under the carpet was carpet padding. I rolled some of it up as well. Most of the carpet padding was pretty worn down so I just tossed it in a large contractor bag.

My kids love to help. Sometimes it is easier to just do project on my own, but with each project comes incredible learning experiences . Plus, they take ownership of the project which teaches them patience, pride, and confidence.

picture of Kids love to hep with remodeling projects
Kids loves to hep with remodeling projects

Elijah really enjoyed helping me with the carpet removal. Of course he was not handling a knife but he did explore and use other tools under my supervision. Above, he is lifting the carpet flap with a crowbar, he was really trying to help. 🙂

After we took away the carpet rolls and bags of carpet padding, we had tons of tack board to take up. I simply used a crowbar to get underneath each tack board and hammered it with a hammer. The tackboard come up pretty easily.

picture of 5 year old using a crowbar
5 year old using a crowbar

This is actually the part where Elijah helped a LOT. Usually, kids “help” and it takes twice as long to work on the project. Today, he really HELPED me. I was amazed.  He wore his Diego gloves and pulled up tack board right beside me. He was so proud of himself! I put the tack board into the heavy duty compactor bag.

After the tack board was removed, I had plenty of nails sticking out all over the floor. I nailed most of them down and pulled some that were crooked.

Now, I finally found out why the room is so musty smelling! This has been a huge problem with Elizabeth’s room. I’ve shampooed the carpets many times since we moved here 5 months ago with no success. I found out why today. The wood floor boards are stained, presumably by cat urine as I found cat hair in the radiator covers when I removed them. The spots were just on one side of the room. I asked the folks at Home Depot what I should use. They recommended varnish. I simply painted the varnish over the stained spots. Now the room smells like varnish…

The entire project took just 2 hours!

I can’t wait to install her new Tarkett Floor! We will be installing the Tarkett Fiber Floor Easy Living Fun Square Dance. They have a great collection of fun kids floors that are perfect for kids bedrooms and playrooms. Elizabeth picked the Square Dance out herself. The colors will match perfectly with her girly pink room.

picture of Tarkett Easy Living Fun Square Dance
Tarkett Easy Living Fun Square Dance

This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience. Thank you to Tarkett who supplied the product for review and the ongoing relationship with Check out the great selection of products at

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Founder and Lead Blogger at Akron Ohio Moms
Cindy is the top Akron Blogger with her own take on awesome brands for families, where to vacation for families, a beat on local activities and family fun, a knack for getting moms to share , and a house that is always 2 weeks away from a complete remodel!
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16 thoughts on “How to remove old carpet

  1. Rose Habart says:

    Wish I’d had this to help when we first moved into our house! We had to replace allll of our flooring.

  2. Cindy says:

    We like to involve the kids whenever possible. It teaches them so much about hard work and how things can go from looking one way to another. I’m amazed at how they can visualize and understand when we talk about moving walls or rooms, etc. That’s a big concept for young kids but they seem to get it.

  3. AMY W. says:

    I really like the fact that you let your children help when it would be a lot easier to send them out of the room. I agree that they are learning so much from every job big or little that they are allowed to try.

  4. Cindy says:

    Good luck, Lisa! I hope my article did help you. I don’t know about the smokey room, my best advice is get everything out and use KILZ primer and sealer over it.

  5. Lisa says:

    This is a very handy article. We just moved into a new house a few months ago and are currently in the process of remodeling EVERYTHING. In the one bedroom, lived a heavy smoker so I’m dying to remove the carpet. In another room, we have the same smell like you: cat urine. Glad to hear that Home Depot had a solution of using varnish to get rid of the smell. Thank you for all the great tips!

  6. R Hicks says:

    I need to to do this to our house and replace the carpeting. Lots of good pics to show how to do it. I am sure you saved money by pulling it up yourself

  7. Judy B. says:

    Nice post. I would never have thought to use varnish for that problem. I think it’s great you are involving your children. They will benefit from it greatly and be very productive and knowledgeable as adults — a rare thing.

  8. Jane says:

    Good work accomplishing this task! I removed my whole houseful of carpet when I bought my place. Getting out all the staples in the plywood underfloor was what killed me!

  9. Angie H. says:

    We’ve removed carpet many times, it’s what to do next that ends up being the harder part. The Tarkett flooring looks like a great and simple solution!

  10. Penny Myers says:

    As soon as we finish remodelling our basement, we will be taking up the carpet in the family room! We haven’t decided if we will recarpet or keep hardwood floors. I love to follow your remodel projects!

  11. Cindy says:

    Oh yes, removing the carpet was a cinch. I find that demolition is much easier and more fun than re-building! lol You get a lot done in little time and feel a sense of accomplishment! My kids love helping no matter what we do, lucky for me this time my son was actually helpful! This is pretty good at age 5. 🙂

  12. clenna says:

    You made the removal of the rug look so easy. I was impressed to see your kids helping. Maybe now I’ll get up the nerve to actually remove my family room rug (it’s sooooo gross). Thanks for the encouragement.

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